Vegetarian Carnivores

One element of creationist theology that I never made my mind up about was the idea that there was no death before the fall and all animals lived in harmony together. The conclusion from this is that predator animals, like Lions, did not eat meat. Instead all animals ate the available fruit and vegetable matter. I guess that eating an apple or grass doesn’t count as death.

Would a tree being felled not have counted as death either? I have yet to see a creationist comment on vegetation dying counting as death in this context. One would guess not and so since they ignore it, I will too.

I do know that in my creationist days I did ponder about animals eating animals before the fall and how fitted in with what we read of the pre fall world. It is a challenge on which the bible says nothing. What creationists believe on the matter is inferred, something that should be done very cautiously.
Answers in Genesis has a post on subject where they confidently state that animals where vegetarians before the fall (http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/origin-of-attack-defense-structures). One example this article suggests is:

chameleon tongues could have been used to reach out and grab vegetarian foods

This strikes me as a very inefficient method of getting food that literally hangs there waiting for a passing animal to pick and eat. Some fruit can also be stubbornly difficult to pull off the stalk. Sadly, like all pre fall animals behaviours, there is simply nothing that can be pointed at as evidence to inform this, or any other, suggestion. The creationist throws it out there as a possibility, maybe even a belief. It is almost as if they are challenging the faithful to contradict them.

I can’t find the post now, but on another creationist blog I read, the writer postulated that plants may have had the right nutrients that today’s carnivores didn’t need to eat meat because their dietary needs were satisfied by these plants. Quite why the animals and plant kingdoms had to change so much as a result of the fall is never properly explained.

The justification behind this idea is that Genesis says that there was no death before the fall. Yet, on another literalist blog I see that this idea is called into question (http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2009/06/04/was-there-death-before-adam/). If creationists want to maintain that pre fall animals did not eat meat then the need to come up with something that is more substantial than a loose and questionable reading of Genesis.

This would be a great time for them to take a leaf out of the science handbook and propose a method by which this mechanism can happen and what, if any, evidence might indicate it. When that is done, the evidence can be looked for and the idea tested. Until that happens the suggestion of vegetarian lions is not and can not be taken seriously.

This is another example of how creationism is not only not scientific, it is simply interpreted guess work.

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14 thoughts on “Vegetarian Carnivores

  1. Don’t they postulate at AiG that animals were all vegetarians until the flood? And that the reason we and other animals became carnivores/omnivores after the flood was the lack of vegetation due to said flood? Though I should imagine that with a limited number of animals it wouldn’t have taken long to use up the reserve and everything would have been extinct except a couple of species. I’m sure they have an answer for that, too; like the animals mating a reproducing on board the ark(the crowding must have been horrible).

    I also thought they postulated that the reason death happened after the fall was because God made a sacrifice to himself on behalf of Adam and Eve to atone for their sin. Then he made them clothes out of the skins of the animals he killed for the sacrifice.

    Gawd, I can’t believe all that used to make perfect sense so me!!! Ahhhhhh!

    Anyway, I always pictured the Garden of Eden as a heaven on earth where the lions lay with lamb like in Revelation.

    • It’s the fall and specifically the curse that started the animal on animal action. The flood wasn’t the point at which animals started to eat each other. Not on anything I’ve read anyway.

      • This is the only thing I can find that says man probably didn’t eat meat until after the flood, but I know that about ten years ago, which is when I would have been heavy into this stuff, Ken Ham was saying that all animals were vegetarians before the flood. That’s how he rationalized all the animals getting along and not eating each other up on the ark.

        So then, according to Genesis 1:29–30, God originally created men and animals to be plant eaters. God’s statement in Genesis 9:3 strengthens this restriction placed on man. Here for the fist time God gives man permission to eat meat. God has not told us exactly when the animals became carnivores. Yet if man obeyed God, he would not have eaten meat until after the Flood and most certainly not before the Fall of Adam.”

        • I see what you mean. I did find some stuff that confirmed that. I was talking specifically about carnivorous animals. AiG takes the line this happened between the fall and the flood. Which would mean man and animals ate meat at different times. Not something I remember considering. It also shows how weak these biblical concepts are.

          Which then makes me wonder why Cain had a flock of animals and why god blessed his offering.

          • I read something about the sheep Cain had providing wool for clothing for people; not to eat.

            I’m not espousing these ideas; just pointing out the mental gymnastics involved. The other day I was reading another post where a commenter said this:

            “I would like to add some knowledge about anatomy to the number of ribs in males and females. The rib is surrounded by the periosteum and it regenerates every time the bone is taken out, but the periosteum is left. As the Creator God must have taken out only the bone to make Eve. He left the periosteum to regenerate another rib. So men and women have the same number of ribs.”

            • I wonder how Cain sheared the sheep or made use of the other animals. The whole narrative makes for a highly illogical story.

              That rib thing is odd. If someone has an organ removed then a child, the child doesn’t inherit that. It’s utterly bizarre that creationists have to even talk about it.

    • Anyway, I always pictured the Garden of Eden as a heaven on earth where the lions lay with lamb like in Revelation.

      Yes, I had that same picture. But I took it as only applying within the Garden of Eden, and not to the rest of the world. And I took the Adam and Eve story to be a fable, not true history. All kinds of magic are possible within fables.

      • Ah, yes, but I was a died-in-the-wool Southern Baptist who believed that the Garden of Eden was literal and there was no life outside the garden until the fall when Adam and Eve were cast out.

  2. I see the vegetarian idea as a post-modernist reinterpretation by Ken Ham and other YECs.

    When John Calvin argued that there was no death before the fall, I suspect that he was referring only to human death, and not suggesting anything at all about other animals.

    • I think that death applying to man is the only way to read those verses. Extending it to all animals seems to be particularly odd interpretation which then demands a whole load of extra things to be read into the account which are never said. Sums up the whole of theology really 🙂

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